The time warp began when he found a cassette in an old radio of his that is now set up in our kitchen. He hit the play button and Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” started blaring through the speakers.
Members of our generation know the tune better as the opening theme of “Dawson’s Creek.” Although I was never a big fan of the show, I found myself squealing like a silly schoolgirl as vague memories of Dawson, Joey, Pacey and the gang came rushing back to me.
As the cassette continued, we realized that it was part of a Top 40 countdown from the late ‘90s. A few minutes of listening were all it took for us to want to find other iconic songs we remembered from our youth.
We spent two hours one night compiling a list of our favorite artists and titles.
Since Zac and I grew up in different counties and were acquaintances rather than sweethearts in high school, this exercise gave us an interesting glimpse into our significant other’s past. It also confirmed once again why we are so perfect for each other.
Most people know Zac to be a very laid back guy, but he has informed me several times about his “angry white boy” phase. In homage to those days, he selected songs by Metallica, Fuel and Bush.
Zac also surprised me with his knowledge of rap. Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” made the list, as did Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and “I’ll Be Missing You,” which I learned was Puff Daddy’s tribute to Notorious B.I.G.
We couldn’t seem to find a spot for Tupac. Although he is arguably the most famous rapper of all time, neither of us knew a single song by him.
In another example of how biased this playlist was, I refused to allow anything by Nirvana to be included.
Yes, I understand they revolutionized music, gave voice to an entire generation, blah, blah blah. I just don’t happen to be a fan of people who don’t bathe and scream the same absurdities into a microphone over and over again.
My contributions to our new music collection were all over the place.
I insisted on downloading both Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” and Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.”
My version of “angry white boy” was “overly introspective chick,” so I also had to throw in some songs by Sheryl Crow, Jewel and Michelle Branch.
One of my most egregious oversights was the absence of anything by Pink on our list. Honestly, it would have been impossible for me to choose my favorite song by her anyway.
Zac wasn’t the only one who had some surprises up his sleeve.
For example, I don’t think he would have pegged me as a Destiny’s Child fan. I even shocked myself by remembering almost all the lyrics to “Say My Name.”
Brandy’s “Have You Ever” and “I Try” by Macy Gray were also musts for me.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that I asked for Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys to be on the list, but Zac has no excuse for making the same request for Hanson and Fiona Apple.
Several of our selections could best be described as cheesy yet awesome. Examples of those classics include “I’m Too Sexy,” “Ice Ice Baby,” “Mambo No. 5” and “Macarena.”
However, none of them compare to the song that gets our vote for the best song of the ‘90s – “Baby Got Back.”
I fell off the couch when Zac unexpectedly started singing Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” one night while we were watching “The Voice,” but there simply aren’t words for his rendition of “Baby Got Back.”
I find it hard to believe that the ‘90s were so long ago. Then again it makes sense when I think of all that has happened since the days when Britney and boy bands ruled the radio.
For Zac and I, that was two graduations, one college degree, a wedding, a birth and a mortgage ago.
Being an adult isn’t always as fun as it’s advertised to be. In just the past week, Zac and I have discussed life insurance, retirement planning and job security. At times, it all felt like too much to think about.
That’s when I would walk over to the laptop and turn on a song like “Livin’ La Vida Loca.”
Was Ricky Martin the most prolific artist of our time? Nope, but I don’t expect him to offer me the answers to life.
I just need him to make me smile.